Sleep Keeps You Skinny
In a nutshell, yes!
In our modern world, where our schedules are becoming fuller, our days more hectic, and our electronics notify us to ‘do’, it’s no wonder we are staying up later and later trying to cram as many things into our ever shrinking day. But is this causing us to get fatter?
As a nation, we are getting less and less sleep. While the nation sleeps less the incidence of obesity has nearly doubled. This trend is a mirror image of the amount of time people spend asleep. In a National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey of 6,000 people from the ages of 32-59 they found the participants who slept:
• 2-4 hours per night were 74% more likely to be obese
• 5 hours per night were 50% more likely to be obese
• 6 hours per night were 23 % more likely to be obese
• 10 or more hours were only 11% likely to be obese
If that isn’t scary enough, a test performed by the University of Chicago on how the body responds to chronic sleep deprivation, the study found that, chronic sleep debt mimics many of the hallmarks of aging, such as diabetes, hypertension, obesity and memory loss. What’s the most frightening of all this information is these changes can be seen within a week when one is sleep deprived.
It was also noted that the lack of sleep also had an effect on basic metabolic functions. Lack of sleep causes our body to produce the stress hormone called cortisol. The hypothalamus (a region in the brain that is involved in appetite regulation) also gets thrown off.
We’ve all heard it; “sleep and lose weight”. The question is, how does not sleeping make us gain weight?
Chronic sleep deprivation also throws off your appetite control hormones: leptin (the hormone that makes you feel full and ghrelin (the hormone that makes you feel hungry). This fools your body in to craving more food, normally in the form of a carbohydrate. But the problem is since your body hasn’t had enough sleep, it can no longer metabolize the carbohydrates. This in turn leads to high blood sugar levels that cause an increase in insulin. The increase in insulin signals the body to store unused energy (carbohydrates) as fat. Along with this imbalance, the hormone leptin signals the body to slow down its metabolism. All of this together is not a good combination for weight loss.
So with all these scary effects what’s the answer? Obviously sleep. However, there maybe times where there aren’t enough hours in the day and you may find yourself not at your optimum amount of sleep. On these days it is even more important than ever to eat a balanced meal full of protein. Protein has a magical effect on the body. Its thermic, which means it takes energy to burn, which in turn means you burn more calories; its has a high saity level, which means you’ll feel full longer. Nor does it have a negative effect on your blood sugar. Try to eat complex carbohydrates that have lots of fiber. Forget teas and pills. The best anti ager weight loss tool out there is sleep.